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IGNOU BSOC 133 Solved Assignment 2022-23
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Submission Date :
- 31st March 2033 (if enrolled in the July 2033 Session)
- 30th Sept, 2033 (if enrolled in the January 2033 session).
Answer the following Descriptive Category Questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks in Assignment I.
Answer the following Middle Category Questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks in Assignment II.
Answer the following Short Category Questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 6 marks in Assignment III.
1. Compare and contrast Marx’s, Durkheim’s and Weber’s viewpoints on society, class and solidarity.
For Durkheim, Auguste Comte’s description of sociology is unclear and speculative. That is why Comte couldn’t describe sociology with bases it on science. Durkheim says that we have to study social life objectively like the objects in nature. According to him, we have to study social facts as things.
One of Durkheim’s theories is the Theory of Division of Labor in Society.
For him, there are two types of development of the Division of Labor in Society. The linear and automatic development. The linear model is more simple. But the automatic one is complex.
He is saying that cooperation, I mean solidarity does not collapse. It is just changing. Organic Solidarity to Mechanic Solidarity.
Durkheim’s Theory of Social Integration and Regulation and his Study of Suicide
Earlier studies associate suicides just as ethical problems or psychological problems.
But according to Durkheim, we can not determine who is going to suicide individually people but we can determine the number of people who might commit suicide in a year.
Durkheim observed that there are differences in the number of suicide between countries. But the number of suicide is stable in the county.
He is also saying that suicide is not only about psychological problems but also it is about climate, religion, career, marital status of a person, etc. For example, he determined that unmarried people are more attended to suicide than married people, or the people who do not have kids have more suicidal tendencies than the people who have kids. For him, if individuals act to service social interest, they will find the meaning of life and the number of suicide is going to fall. Durkheim called that theory: The Theory Of ‘Egoistic Suicide’.
He also mentioned three more theories except for ‘Egoistic Suicide’. One of them is Altruistic suicide. It can be defined as suicidal behavior to self-sacrifice. Like suicide bombers. Another theory is Fatalistic Suicide. It’s about the society that determines your fate. Society makes pressure on the person and it leads you to suicide. The last theory of suicide is Anomic suicide. The name of Anomic comes from Anomos that also comes from Geek. It means lawlessness, so anomie means a lack of moral standards, or a sense of lawlessness, or sometimes the anxiety that comes from being in a lawless place. People think that there is no one who controls her so the person goes astray and it leads to suicide.
Marx’s Method is Historical Materialism or the ‘Materialist Conception of History:’
According to Marx social change is not because of the development of the ideas. It is because of the development of materials which bases on the economy and society. Marx reconstructs Hegel’s Idealist Dialectic. The Dialectical Materialism that Marx talked about; there is three Dialectic. One of them is the Unity of Opposites. Unity of Opposites Dialectic is about the contrast. If one of two does not exist, the other one does not exist too. For example, if there is no slave it means there is no master either. The other Dialectic is Thesis — Anti-Thesis — Synthesis. Every Anti-Thesis is also the beginning of a new Thesis. He also said that quantitive change leads to qualitative changes. For example, if the power of the working class increases, it can lead to revolution.
Marx has a theory about The Concept of Production Articulation of Relations of Production & Forces of Production. The mode of production divided into two. Relations of Product and Forces of Product. In Relation to the product, there are owners of means of the product (lands are an example of means of products) and direct producers. Forces of Products are divided into Objective and Subjective. Objective one is the means of production. Like lands, tools, machinery.
There are many The Mode of Production models that Marx talked about. Like Primitive Communism — Communal Labor Ancient Mode of Production — Slavery, Asiatic Mode of Production — Free Peasants and Centralized State, Feudal Mode of Production — Serfdom, Capitalist Mode of Production — Wage-Labor, Socialist or Communist Mode of Production — Socialized Labor/Classless Society. All of them are about the same thing actually. Simply; according to Marx, culture is not playing a role in Society. Everything is about production activity and who has the production tools. Society forms with the owner of the surplus. And the owner of the surplus is resorted to various ways for not sharing this surplus with others. One of them nationalism(today’s democracy). Or the owner of the surplus can also use the religion too. But MaxWeber, on the contrary, says that this is not true. Although influenced by Marx he defended that nations, beliefs, culture, or religions can affect production activities too. Not only production activities make the culture. As it constitutes cultural production activities, it creates a more organic society. That’s why an ideology that just about production activities cannot be a solution for humanity.
- For Karl Marx (1818–1883), social classes are determined according to the relations of production. In a capitalist society, the relations of production are defined by the ownership of the means of production. Thus, we distinguish the capitalist class, or bourgeoisie, from the working class. The former owns the means of production, while the latter has only its own labor power which it sells to the bourgeoisie. This “objective” situation in production relationships defines a “class in itself”. But the awareness of common interests between the workers constitutes it in “class for itself”. Consequently, it enters into the fight against the bourgeoisie in order to put an end to its exploitation.
- For Marx, the division of society into hierarchical groups is based only on social classes. For Max Weber (1864–1920), social classes are only one dimension of social stratification. They bring together individuals who experience the same economic situation, that is to say with identical chances of obtaining goods (classes of possession) and having the same economic interests (classes of production). However, unlike Marx, social classes, for Weber, do not constitute real communities. Individuals belonging to the same social class are not aware of belonging to this class. For Weber, social classes are the first dimension of social stratification. The other two dimensions are the “status group, which relates to social honor or prestige,” and the party, which refers to access to political power.
Some of Max Weber’s ideas on Social Change are below:
Max Weber remains an analyst of society at the end of the 19th century. He seeks to understand and explain the evolution of societies and the characteristics of modernity, which is defined by two major features:
- Rationalization. Social activities become governed by a principle of rationality. It is necessary to formalize the goals to be reached and to adopt the most suitable means to achieve its ends, those which will allow the objective to be achieved at the lowest cost. This movement goes hand in hand with the intellectualization of social life. Rationalization also causes the decline of religious practices and more generally of beliefs. The excessive procedure leads to a form of bureaucracy. Rationalization which aims only to be rational would lead to tyranny. To be viable, the rationalization of societies must continue to be guided by values.
- The disenchantment of the world. Rationalization causes a weakening of moral values. The actions of individuals are no longer conducted under the impulse of passions and beliefs but under that of rationality. A new paradigm intervenes to judge reality, that of science. The gradual elimination of magic is a way of answering the questions and suffering of the world as well as a loss of meaning regarding the meaning and direction of life. The complexity of society takes away from each individual the control of his environment.
The rationalization and disenchantment of the world produce new forms of social life that Weber endeavors to describe. He distinguishes two ways of constituting a society, that is to say of creating a link between individuals:
- The first is called: “community”: Individual actions are driven by routine, emotions, or even rationality in value. Custom is the engine of social regulation. Social order is based on religious beliefs, faith in values , and the abandonment of the leader. Legacy solidarity develops because of the sharing of a certain interconnectedness. It characterizes the essence of inter-individual relationships.
- The second way of creating a bond between individuals, of constituting a society, is called “member”. It is characteristic of modern societies. We belong to a society in the economic sense of the term, that is to say, that contractual relationships are established between individuals. The latter is no longer called to found a group by tradition or belief, but rather because of their free will and the feeling that they have of achieving their ends by this means. Individual actions are directed by rationality in the end. The dominant social relationships are covered by mutual and voluntary commitment. Social regulation operates through the specific interests of individuals. Order is guaranteed by convention, law. It is legal rationality since it follows the law.
Weber brings three essential ideas about education:
- Structural homology (the same character in two different species — common point) between Church and school, both located in spheres of relations based on domination. The school is a hierarchical structure that legitimizes the dominant culture.
- The distinction between three types of education; charismatic, humanistic, and specialized which corresponds to three forms of domination (charismatic, traditional, and legal founded and legitimized by the laws).
- The relationships between school and bureaucracy. The latter contributes to the development of special education.
What is contested by some at Weber is the concept of rationality. The actors never adopt the most rational behaviors. They proceed from a “limited rationality” circumscribed to their knowledge of the situation and which is never total.
3 Important Quotes from Marx, Weber, and Durkheim
Three quotes from Max Weber:
- It is not true that good can follow only from good and evil only from evil, but that often the opposite is true. Anyone who fails to see this is, indeed, a political infant.
- In a democracy the people choose a leader in whom they trust. Then the chosen leader says, ‘Now shut up and obey me.’ People and party are then no longer free to interfere in his business.
- The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world.
Three quotes from Karl Marx:
- The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.
- The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.
- The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.
Three quotes from Emile Durkheim:
- When mores are sufficient, laws are unnecessary; when mores are insufficient, laws are unenforceable.
- We do not condemn it because it is a crime, but it is a crime because we condemn it.
- Socialism is not a science, a sociology in miniature: it is a cry of pain.
For Weber, an individual can have a high position on one axis (being a wealthy industrialist for example) and a low on another (not having valued cultural practices). For Weber, members of a class, therefore, do not necessarily have class consciousness and are not necessarily mobilized in the struggle.
Weber’s conception is nominalist: a social class is a collection of individuals gathered by the sociologist, a classification tool. Marx, for his part, develops a realistic analysis of social classes: he considers that they are real social groups in conflict.
Marx and Weber do not have the same approach to social classes, which has consequences for their analysis of the structure of society.
2. Discuss Marx’s perspective on division of labour.
Gary North is a member of the Economists’ National Committee on Monetary Policy and is the author of Marx’s Religion of Revolution (Nutley, New Jersey: Craig Press, 1968), from which this article has been adapted.
The division of labor is a subject which has fascinated social scientists for millennia. Before the advent of modern times, philosophers and theologians concerned themselves with the implications of the idea. Plato saw as the ultimate form of society a community in which social functions would be rigidly separated and maintained; society would be divided into definite functional groups: warriors, artisans, unskilled laborers, rulers. St. Paul, in his first letter to the church at Corinth, went so far as to describe the universal Church in terms of a body: there are hands, feet, eyes, and all are under the head, Christ. Anyone who intends to deal seriously with the study of society must grapple with the question of the division of labor. Karl Marx was no exception.
Marx was more than a mere economist. He was a social scientist in the full meaning of the phrase. The heart of his system was based on the idea of human production. Mankind, Marx asserted, is a totally autonomous species-being, and as such man is the sole creator of the world in which he finds himself. A man cannot be defined apart from his labor: “As individuals express their life, so they are. What they are, therefore, coincides with their production, both with what they produce and with how they produce.” The very fact that man rationally organizes production is what distinguishes him from the animal kingdom, according to Marx. The concept of production was a kind of intellectual “Archimedean point” for Marx. Every sphere of human life must be interpreted in terms of this single idea: “Religion, family, state, law, science, art, etc., are only particular modes of production, and fall under its general law.” Given this total reliance on the concept of human labor, it is quite understandable why the division of labor played such an important role in the overall Marxian framework.
Property vs. Labor
Marx had a vision of a perfect human society. In this sense, Martin Buber was absolutely correct in including a chapter on Marx in his Paths in Utopia. Marx believed in the existence of a society which preceded recorded human history. In this world, men experienced no sense of alienation because there was no alienated production. Somehow (and here Marx was never very clear) men fell into patterns of alienated production, and from this, private property arose.3 Men began to appropriate the products of other men’s labor for their own purposes. In this way, the very products of a man’s hands came to be used as a means of enslaving him to another. This theme, which Marx announced as early as 1844, is basic to all of Marx’s later economic writings.
Under this system of alienated labor, Marx argued, man’s very life forces are stolen from him. The source of man’s immediate difficulty is, in this view, the division of labor. The division of labor was, for Marx, the very essence of all that is wrong with the world. It is contrary to man’s real essence. The division of labor pits man against his fellow man; it creates class differences; it destroys the unity of the human race. Marx had an almost theological concern with the unity of mankind, and his hostility to the division of labor was therefore total (even totalitarian).
Marx’s analysis of the division of labor is remarkably similar to Rousseau’s. Both argued that the desire for private property led to the division of labor, and this in turn gave rise to the existence of separate social classes based on economic differences. The Marxist analysis of politics relies completely upon the validity of this assumption. Without economic classes, there would be no need for a State, since a State is, by definition, nothing more than an instrument of social control used by the members of one class to suppress the members of another. Thus, when the proletarian revolution comes, the proletarian class must use the State to destroy the remnants of bourgeois capitalism and the ideology of capitalism. The opposition must be stamped out; here is the meaning of the famous “ten steps” outlined in the Communist Manifesto. Once the opposition is totally eradicated, there will be no more need for a State, since only one class, the proletariat, will be in existence. “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the development of all.”
Marx actually believed that in the communist society beyond the Revolution, the division of labor would be utterly destroyed. All specialization would disappear. This implies that for the purposes of economic production and rational economic planning, all men (and all geographical areas) are created equal. It is precisely this that Christians, conservatives, and libertarians have always denied. Marx wrote in The German Ideology (1845-46):
.. in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.
A Utopian Ideal
A more utopian ideal cannot be encountered in serious economic literature. While some commentators think that Marx later abandoned this radical view, the evidence supporting such a conclusion is meager. Marx never explicitly repudiated it (although the more outspoken Engels did, for all intents and purposes). Even if Marx had abandoned the view, the basic problems would still remain. How could a communist society abandon the specialization of labor that has made possible the wealth of modern industrialized society and at the same time retain modern mass production methods? How could the communist paradise keep mankind from sliding back into the primitive, highly unproductive, unskilled, low capital intensity production techniques that have kept the majority of men in near starvation conditions throughout most of human history?
The whole question of economic production “beyond the Revolution” was a serious stumbling stone for Marx. He admitted that there would be many problems of production and especially distribution during the period of the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat.” This period is merely the “first phase of communist society as it is when it has just emerged after prolonged birth pangs from capitalist society.”8 Marx never expected great things from this society. However, in the “higher phase of communist society,” the rule of economic justice shall become a reality: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!” This will be easy to accomplish, since the vast quantities of wealth which are waiting to be released will be freed from the fetters and restraints of capitalist productive techniques.
3. Discuss Émile Durkheim’s contribution to the sociology of religion.
4. What are the main characteristics of bureaucracy?
5. Explain Weber’s Theory of Social Action.
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6. What is mechanical solidarity?
8. What do you understand by is collective conscience?
9. Explain the concept of class.
10. Outline the laws of dialectic.
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